Theme Week Kazakhstan – Baikonur

23 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum © flickr.com - Ninara/cc-by-2.0

Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum © flickr.com – Ninara/cc-by-2.0

Baikonur, formerly known as Leninsk (see Tyuratam), is a city of republic significance on the Northern bank of the Syr Darya river, rented and administered by the Russian Federation. It was constructed to service the Baikonur Cosmodrome and was officially renamed Baikonur by Russian president Boris Yeltsin on December 20, 1995. During the Soviet period, it was sometimes referred to as Zvezdograd (Star City). The rented area is an ellipse measuring 90 kilometres (56 mi) east to west by 85 km (53 mi) north to south, with the cosmodrome situated at the area’s centre.   read more…

Gaziantep in Southeastern Anatolia

23 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

View from Gaziantep Castle © flickr.com - Natalie Sayin/cc-by-2.0

View from Gaziantep Castle © flickr.com – Natalie Sayin/cc-by-2.0

Gaziantep, previously and still informally Antep, is a city in the western part of Turkey‘s Southeastern Anatolia Region, some 185 kilometres (115 mi) east of Adana and 97 kilometres (60 mi) north of Aleppo, Syria. The city has two urban districts under its administration, Şahinbey and Şehitkamil. It is the sixth-most populous city in Turkey and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.   read more…

Theme Week Kazakhstan – Atyrau

22 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Ural River in Atyrau © Ds02006

Ural River in Atyrau © Ds02006

Atyrau, known as Guryev until 1991, is the capital of Atyrau Region. It is located at the mouth of the Ural River on the Caspian Sea, 2,700 kilometres (1,700 miles) west of Almaty and 351 kilometres (218 miles) east of the Russian city of Astrakhan. Modern Atyrau is famous for its oil and fish industries. It has 154,100 inhabitants (2007), up from 142,500 (1999 census), 90% ethnic Kazakhs (up from 80%), the rest being mostly Russians and other ethnic groups such as Tatars and Ukrainians.   read more…

Theme Week Kazakhstan – Oskemen

21 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Theatre © Iskanderov Damir/cc-by-3.0

Theatre © Iskanderov Damir/cc-by-3.0

Ust-Kamenogorsk or Oskemen is the administrative center of East Kazakhstan Region with a population of 310,000. It is served by Ust-Kamenogorsk Airport. The city has two official names. In the Russian language, its name is Усть-Каменогорск; in the Kazakh language, its accepted name is Өскемен/Óskemen. Both names appear on the seal of the city. The city has three cinemas (although during the Soviet era, there were a lot more), three museums, a drama theater with Russian and Kazakh (since 2000) troupes, the Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace.   read more…

Portrait: Emperor Titus

21 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Château de Versailles - Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Château de Versailles – Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Titus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father. Prior to becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a military commander, serving under his father in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War. The campaign came to a brief halt with the death of emperor Nero in 68, launching Vespasian’s bid for the imperial power during the Year of the Four Emperors. When Vespasian was declared Emperor on 1 July 69, Titus was left in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, and destroyed the city and the Second Temple so that the city became uninhabitable for over 60 years (the present day Old City was then the whole of Jerusalem). For this achievement Titus was awarded a triumph: the Arch of Titus commemorates his victory to this day. The influence on the later developments of Christianity and Judaism through the results of the Jewish-Roman Wars (First Jewish–Roman War, Kitos War and Bar Kokhba revolt) was considerable. While Christianity experienced a rapid worldwide growth, Judaism declined into Diaspora groups.   read more…

Theme Week Kazakhstan – Aktau

20 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Aktau Lighthouse at the Caspian Sea © AnastassiyaL/cc-by-sa-3.0

Aktau Lighthouse at the Caspian Sea © AnastassiyaL/cc-by-sa-3.0

Aktau is located on the east bank of the Caspian Sea. Its current name means “white mountain” in Kazakh, which may be due to its cliffs that overlook the Caspian. From 1964 to 1991 city was known as Shevchenko. Its former name was given due to the eponymous Ukrainian poet’s period of exile in the area. It is located on the Mangyshlak Peninsula and is the capital of Mangystau Region. Aktau is known for its unique block address system. Almost no streets in Aktau have names; instead, addresses generally consist of three numbers: the district number (also known as micro-region/micro-district/block), the building number, and the apartment number. This is because Aktau was originally planned as a camp for the workers of the oil industry.   read more…

Theme Week Kazakhstan

19 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Ak Oda Presidential Palace in Astana © panoramio.com - Nikolay Olkhovoy/cc-by-3.0

Ak Oda Presidential Palace in Astana © panoramio.com – Nikolay Olkhovoy/cc-by-3.0

Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is the world’s largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres (1,052,100 sq mi). Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region’s GDP, primarily through its oil/gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources (List of cities in Kazakhstan, Economy of Kazakhstan, Tourism in Kazakhstan and Kazakh cuisine).   read more…

Allahabad in India

19 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Millions of Pilgrims take a ritual bath at Sangam © Lokankara/cc-by-sa-3.0

Millions of Pilgrims take a ritual bath at Sangam © Lokankara/cc-by-sa-3.0

Allahabad, also known as Prayag, is a large metropolitan city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is the administrative headquarters of Allahabad District, the most populous district in the state and 13th most populous district in India, and the Allahabad Division.   read more…

Beyoğlu in Istanbul

16 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Monument of the Republic, to commemorate the founding of modern Turkey in 1923 © Nevit Dilmen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Monument of the Republic, to commemorate the founding of modern Turkey in 1923 © Nevit Dilmen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Beyoğlu is a district located on the European side of İstanbul, Turkey, separated from the old city (historic peninsula of Constantinople) by the Golden Horn. It was known as Pera during the Middle Ages, and this name remained in common use until the mid-20th century and the ethnic cleansing of its large Greek population. The district encompasses other neighborhoods located north of the Golden Horn, including Galata (the medieval Genoese citadel from which Beyoğlu itself originated, which is today known as Karaköy), Tophane, Cihangir, Şişhane, Tepebaşı, Tarlabaşı, Dolapdere and Kasımpaşa, and is connected to the old city center across the Golden Horn through the Galata Bridge, Atatürk Bridge and Golden Horn Metro Bridge. Beyoğlu is the most active art, entertainment and nightlife centre of Istanbul.   read more…

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